Holiday Breakfast: Panettone French Toast

December 22, 2010 § 1 Comment

I am a huge French Toast fan and am always looking for ways to spruce up the classic.  I am always pondering ways to give the classic a twist – whether it be by using a new kind of bread or croissants.  Given that we are in the middle of the winter holiday season, Italian Panettone seems to be the natural choice to stand in for the trusty French bread.

Panettone are a traditional Italian sweet bread that is made for Christmas and New Year (Italians out there, correct me if I get any of this wrong).  It traditionally takes on a round cake or cupola shape and weighs about one and a half pounds.  I dream of the day I find myself in Milan around Christmas time so I could enjoy a fresh baked Panettone in its natural habitat.

But even here in the states, Panettone are easily acquired if you know where to look.  You can seek out an Italian family member or friend to ship you the original (I am still working on this option myself), pick one up at your local Italian deli (I am fortunate to have this option) or grocery store (some have them handy in time for the holidays), or you can order them online.

I used my usual classic French toast recipe for the egg mixture — whenever trying new recipes I like to switch up one major ingredient at a time so that I know which substitution yields which result.  My husband was the guinea pig this time and I he was certainly not complaining.  The Panettone is so fluffy and soft that it absorbs the egg mixture perfectly.

The final result is one of the fluffiest French toast textures I have ever tasted – the delicate texture is a perfect accompaniment to the raisins in the Panettone and the fruit topping gives it that little something extra.  There is almost a bread pudding type of quality to the middle sections of each slice.  In fact, I might try this as a bread pudding next time.  Will share when I do…

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did — let me know how yours turns out!

Ingredients:

French Toast

  • 1/2 of a Pannetone cake, sliced into evenly cut slices
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Topping

  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (or raw sugar)
  • powdered sugar

Directions:

French Toast

Topping

To serve

Blackberry Tart with Vanilla Yogurt

April 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

This tart is very light and is the perfect after dinner dessert.  The crust is a cornmeal Pâte Brisée, so it is lighter and crisper than a traditional tart crust.  This is a great spring or summer dessert and you can use any berries from your local farmer’s market; just pick whatever looks good that day.  Note:  You will need about 2-2 1/2 hours to make this tart (because the dough needs to chill twice in order to keep the tart shell flaky).  The tart dough can either be made the day before and chilled in the refrigerator overnight or made, up to a month ahead of time, and frozen (make sure you defrost it before you start molding the crust).  Either of these steps can save some time the day you make the tart.

Ingredients:

Directions for the tart:

1.  In a food processor, pulse flour, cornmeal, salt, and sugar until blended.

2.  Add pats of chilled butter and pulse until mixture resembles course crumbs (make sure there are some larger pieces remaining or you will have blended the dough too much).

3.  Drizzle 1/4 cup of cold water evenly over the mixture.  Pulse until the mixture just begins to hold together when pressed between your fingers.  It should NOT be wet or sticky.  If the dough is too dry, pulse more cold water into the dough 1 Tbsp. at a time.

4.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and shape into a disk.  refrigerate until firm, about an hour, or overnight.  You can also freeze it up to one month and defrost the dough when ready to use.

5.  When the dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 375°.  Roll out the dough, on a floured surface, into an 11 inch round disk that is about 1/4 inch thick.  Press the dough into the bottom of a 10 inch tart pan (I like to use the tart pans that have a removable bottom).  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until chilled.

6.  Pick holes on the bottom of the tart with a fork and put it in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

7.  While the tart shell is baking, mix the raspberry jam, blackberry jam, and lemon juice together is a bowl.

8.  When the tart shell is done, pour the jam and lemon mixture onto the bottom of the tart and spread evenly.

9.  Top the tart with fresh blackberries (or other fresh seasonal fruit) and toasted almonds.  Serve with vanilla yogurt and honey.

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